A goal in each half was decisive as Eire Og Nenagh knocked Upperchurch-Drombane out of the Clean Ireland Recycling county senior hurling championship by a four points margin after an entertaining third round contest at Templemore on Saturday evening.
Nenagh deserved their win but they were pushed all the way by a determined Upperchurch-Drombane outfit who recovered from a disappointing third quarter to again mount a serious challenge in the final quarter which had the fair-sized attendance on the edge of their seats.
The crucial difference between the sides was that Nenagh had much more fire-power than their rivals. All their forwards scored and sub James Mackey helped himself to two points in a free-flowing performance, the tempo of which picked up considerably in the second half.
And when they reflect on the game, Eire Og will acknowledge the huge contribution of Michael Heffernan who adopted a roving centre half-forward role, and who, apart from scoring six points, three from play, was instrumental in all of their best work.
Likewise Hugh Moloney who stood tall when it mattered most in the closing quarter as Upperchurch rallied.
They gave the leadership and their colleagues responded accordingly with such as Tommy Heffernan, Richie Flannery, Noel Moloney and subs James Mackey and Pearse Morris all making significant contributions to the victory.
Upperchurch-Drombane’s part in an excellent encounter was immense. They were sharp and positive in the first half at the end of which they led 0-12 to 1-8. Pat Shortt, Andy Kinane, L J Ryan, and Padraig Greene were posing lots of problems for Nenagh who were struggling to stay with them.
Eire Og got a vital break in the 14th minute when Kevin Tucker’s sixty five dropped short and Paddy Murphy reacted quickest to belt the ball to the net. That goal brought his side level 1-3 to 0-6, undoing much of the good work of The Church in the first quarter.
Upperchurch were not rattled however and Andy Kinane and Pat Shortt quickly replied with points but the real damage was that the goal deprived Upperchurch of the cushion that would have carried them through a dodgy third quarter when Nenagh were calling the shots.
Still a point lead at the break had Upperchurch in good shape. Pat Shortt’s point added to their advantage immediately on resuming but Brian Quinn had a white flag for Nenagh.
In the 33rd minute Ciaran Shortt in the Upperchurch goal made a fine save off Richie Flannery but a minute later he could do nothing as Michael Heffernan set up Flannery for the goal that really decided the game. Nenagh tails were up and though Pat Shortt again pointed for Upperchurch, Nenagh reeled off three unanswered points by Michael Heffernan, Paddy Murphy and Kevin Tucker to go four clear.
John Quinn steadied the ship for Upperchurch with a point but once more Nenagh surged forward for a hat-trick of scores from James Mackey, Michael and Tommy Heffernan to extend their lead to six points entering the last quarter.
Upperchurch were not beaten though. Padraig Greene pointed and as they gained momentum, Pat Shortt came close with a despairing lunge to a ball skidding wide. James Mackey had a Nenagh point but James Barry, now operating in attack saw his powerfully hit thirty meter free top the bar. In the 56th minute Barry had the Upperchurch fans on their feet as he netted to cut the lead to two points and in the 60th minute he had another effort which appeared to be going over the bar, saved and cleared.
Nenagh didn’t panic and it was they who finished the stronger with Michael Heffernan from a free and Daire Quinn pointing in injury time to secure their victory.
This was Nenagh’s eighth championship outing in a marathon campaign .It has been a long journey for them following a poor showing in the North championship but they are now at the business-end of the competition and in good shape to mount a serious challenge.
A quality showing by Upperchurch-Drombane came up just short but they have had a good year, recovering much of the ground lost through the depletion of their forces through emigration last year. Apart from those previously mentioned, Joe McGuire, L J Ryan, and goalie Ciaran Shortt also had big games.
Eire Og,Nenagh – M McNamara; M Flannery, N Moloney, J Brennan; Daire Quinn(0-1), H Moloney, Billy Heffernan; Barry Heffernan, S Geaney; K Tucker(0-3), M Heffernan(0-6), T Heffernan(0-3); B Quinn(0-1), P Murphy(1-1), R Flannery(1-1); Subs- P Morris for Geaney; J Mackey(0-2) for B Quinn; Donncha Quinn for R Flannery;
Upperchurch-Drombane – C Shortt; M Ryan, J Ryan, P Stapleton; A Kinane(0-2), J Barry(1-1), J McGuire; J Quinn(0-1), L J Ryan(0-2); P Shortt(0-7, 3fs), C Ryan, P Shanahan; P Ryan, M Greene(0-1), P Greene(0-3);Subs- C Stapleton for M Greene; J Greene for Quinn; J Ryan(J) for Shanahan; M Ryan(D) for McGuire;
Referee: J McCormack, Knockavilla Kickhams.
Senior Football: On Saturday last in Boherlahan our senior footballers had a comfortable 2-17 to 0-06 victory over Kilsheelan/Kilcash in group 3 of the County championship. See report.
Minor Hurling: On this Wednesday night at 7.30pm in Castleiney our minor hurlers play Gortnahoe. All panel to attend.
Junior Hurling: On this Friday August 2nd at 7.30pm in Templemore our junior A hurlers play Thurles Gaels in the championship.
Sympathy: We offer our sympathy to Fr. Corbett on the recent passing of his aunt R.I.P.
Juvenile Club: Bag Packing: Our annual bag packing will take place in Dunnes Stores, Thurles on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd August. On the playing front our U/16 hurlers were in action on July 15th, going down to hosts Boherlahan/Dualla on a scoreling 2-14 to 1-04.
Both of our U/12 teams were knocked out of their respective championships in recent weeks. Our A team were beaten by Boherlahan/Dualla on a scoreline 1-11 to 2-04. The B team were beaten by Gortnahoe/Glengoole on the score 4-04 to 4-01.
Both teams will have shield competitions later in the year.
The U/10’s played a hurling challenge v Golden Kilfeacle on July 20th.